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Greg Ellis shares harrowing story after ’10-word lie’ ruined his life overnight

What happened to Greg Ellis is more unbelievable than the plot of any Hollywood movie.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star lost his home, career and kids overnight after a “10-word lie” saw him thrown into a psychiatric hospital and dragged through the family courts in America.

The 53-year-old has penned eye-opening book The Respondent about what he went through, and shared the grim details of his harrowing experience during an exclusive chat with the Mirror.

One day, Greg was having meetings with Hollywood producers and huge stars – including Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone – about projects they were due to begin working on together when his entire life fell apart around him.

Greg has opened up about his experience

As his two young sons played upstairs at his pricey Los Angeles home, Greg answered the door to police officers, who told him they’d received a report from someone that he had said: “I’m sick of this s**t, I’m gonna harm the children”.

To this day, Greg is adamant that he said no such thing and that he could never harm the sons he doted on.

With his book The Respondent: Exposing the Cartel of Family Law, Greg aims to help other men going through similar battles with ex-partners over custody of their children and raise awareness of the alarming number of men going through divorce who tragically take their own lives.

He told us: “I got a call from the chairman of a movie studio a couple of weeks ago about the book and he said to me, ‘Look if we work together and tell this story it’ll be hard pressed for people to believe it is a true story’.

Greg played Lieutenant Commander Groves in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies
Greg played Lieutenant Commander Groves in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies

“It’s so twisted and dark and dystopian, it’s like a psychological thriller.”

He added: “What I’ve found from my experience is there are hundreds of thousands of people who are going through this, and to me it’s the biggest scandal of our society today and no one’s talking about it.

“That’s why I wrote this book, because I couldn’t believe it at first and then I found out it was so common.

“I wrote it to make sense, as part of my therapy, and to make sense of the government’s devastation and destruction of my life. I wanted my children to know that I hadn’t abandoned them and to tell other similarly situated parents, particularly men, that they’re not alone.

“I wanted to ring the alarm bell about a broken system and call for a change in family law reform because it’s horrific out there.”

Greg's book The Respondent
Greg’s book The Respondent

Explaining why he described the family law system in America as a “cartel”, he said that the divorce business in the US is a “$60billion a year industry”.

After what he’s been through, Greg has set up his own charity, Children Parents United (CPU), which is working towards introducing a presumption of innocence to accusations such as the ones he faced.

He explained: “The majority of domestic violence allegations are false or unprovable but by that point the father or the male has suffered a loss of reputation and standing in the community, it’s done, it’s all over.

“This is the power of the false allegation, victimhood has become the new social currency.

Greg compared the family law system in America to a cartel
Greg compared the family law system in America to a cartel

“The stain of doubt always remains and what we need to be doing is bringing people who make false allegations to account.”

All together, Greg has been subjected to five different involuntary incarcerations and has fought to clear his name, as even some of his oldest friends turned their backs on him due to his then-wife’s insistence he was dangerous and mentally ill.

Greg says his sons, who he now hasn’t seen for years, were told he had a “broken brain”.

While at first he could see them during supervised visitations, even those rare and precious moments were eventually taken from him.

Speaking about the night his life was pulled out from under him, Greg said: “It was chilling, really chilling, it was like some stealth CIA extraction.

Greg hasn't seen his sons in years
Greg hasn’t seen his sons in years

“In the span of 24 hours, law enforcement showed up at my door and entered my home without a warrant – my sons were fine, they were playing upstairs – I was ushered from my home in handcuffs and committed to an institution – the first of five incarcerations – subjected to a temporary restraining order in divorce court, all on the basis of a 10-word false allegation which was hearsay.

“I became homeless overnight and almost destitute.”

Greg says his Hollywood career was left in tatters too.

He said: “I had just directed a movie for Sky in England with Stephen Fry and Kiefer Sutherland and I came back and this all happened, and my ex-wife actually called my agency telling them all these lies that I was psychotic and bipolar and manic and I shouldn’t be employed and eventually it became too much for them and I got dropped.

Greg's career was left in tatters
Greg’s career was left in tatters

“Like they say, mud sticks, and that’s another reason I wrote the book, to set the record straight and have a voice because you don’t have a voice in court, you sit there silently while attorneys make arguments insisting that you’re guilty until proven more guilty.”

Greg hopes that when they get older, his children will read his book and finally hear his side of the story.

Greg’s book includes an introduction by old friend Johnny Depp and a foreword by Alec Baldwin, who have also been through very public splits and troubles.

* Greg is working to help others through his charity Children Parents United (CPU), which aims to promote and improve child well-being, resulting in enhanced relationships and reduced conflict for those children and parents navigating our current family law systems – find out more here

* Click here to order a copy of The Respondent: Exposing the Cartel of Family Law


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